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Uriel Juarez Popoca

Uriel Juarez Popoca


Reported by – DELAWARE, Ohio

Two law enforcement officers have been found guilty on charges of dereliction of duty relating to the death of a suspected drunk driver.

Delaware County deputy Derek Beggs and Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Sean Carpenter were found guilty on two counts each of dereliction of duty. They were sentenced to a fine of $1,000 each, but there will still be disciplinary hearings, which could include terminations.

Beggs and Carpenter were accused of dropping off a suspected drunk driver at a Taco Bell and leaving him there.

The suspected drunk driver, Uriel Juarez Popoca, later wandered into traffic, where he was hit and killed.

Dash camera video from July 28 shows Popoca being put into a Delaware County sheriff’s cruiser. He was found inside of his truck, in the median on Interstate 71, according to officials.

Authorities say Popoca’s blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit.

The deputies and trooper said that Popoca spoke very little English and they had hoped someone at the Taco Bell could interpret for him.

The prosecutor claimed that the officers were negligent in their sworn duties as law enforcement officers.

“I think the video speaks for [itself.] The deputies were joking and laughing and talking about going home, and they were not taking about the job of law enforcement seriously, and there’s lots and lots of noble and good hard work done by police officers every day, and I think the verdicts were fair in this case,” said Mary Lynn Caswell, prosecutor.

Defense attorneys claimed their clients were doing their jobs, and that Beggs had the option of arresting or not arresting Popoca, and that Carpenter was third on the scene and had no obligation at all.

“The issue is what’s the impact on this man’s career? We maintained since day one that he’s innocent. I still believe that is the case and hopefully, the court of appeals will see that as well,” said Carpenter’s attorney, Sam Shamansky.

Attorneys said that both defendants will appeal the verdict. They will not have to pay the fines until the appeal is decided.

A second Delaware County deputy accused in the case, Christopher Hughes, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of failure to a law enforcement officer on December 13.



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